How That “Junked Vehicle” on Your Front Lawn Can Lead to Misdemeanor Charges

March 12th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Traffic Offenses

Traffic violations normally involve vehicles that are actually traveling on public highways. But the Texas Transportation Code also regulates the use of non-operating or “junked” vehicles. Section 638.071 of the Code defines a junked vehicle as one that is either “wrecked, dismantled or partially dismantled, or discarded,” or that has been inoperable for more than […]

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Supreme Court Clarifies Standard for “Preserving” Objection in Criminal Appeals

March 3rd, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Criminal Defense

If you are on trial for a criminal offense, the judge may make a number of decisions that you disagree with. Some of these decisions may seriously affect the outcome of the trial itself. As the defendant, you (or more commonly, your attorney) must object or otherwise bring a possible error to the judge’s attention […]

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Houston Man Convicted of Filing Fraudulent Tax Returns on Behalf of Foreign Oil & Gas Workers

February 27th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in White Collar Crime

Tax crimes are among the most commonly prosecuted forms of white collar crimes in Texas. Indeed, one of the easiest ways to find yourself in the crosshairs of the IRS or the U.S. Attorney’s office is to file a fraudulent tax return–or even worse, to file multiple such returns on behalf of other people. This […]

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How You May Face Drug Charges Even if the Drugs Do Not Belong to You

February 6th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Drug Crime

When it comes to drug crimes, law enforcement need not actually find illegal contraband on your person. If the police execute a valid search warrant for your property and locate illegal drugs, particularly in “plain view,” you can still be arrested, tried, and convicted of drug possession. What matters here is not what is found […]

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How a Misdemeanor Conviction Can Lead to “Forfeiture” of Your Property to the State of Texas

January 24th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Misdemeanor Crimes

Normally, the maximum penalty for a Class A misdemeanor offense in Texas is one year in jail and a $4,000 fine. But this is only the maximum criminal penalty. Some misdemeanor convictions can also lead to the civil forfeiture of assets that prosecutors believe were proceeds or byproducts of the crime. By law, however, the […]

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Is an Incorrectly Administered HGN Test Admissible as Evidence in a DWI Case?

January 20th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Drunk Driving, DWI

In deciding whether or not to charge a person with DWI, Houston-area law enforcement officers will often rely on the results of a horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test. This is where the officer displays a penlight in front of the driver’s eyes and asks the driver to follow said light as the officer moves it […]

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Can Police Seize Drugs From Me If They Are in “Plain View”?

January 9th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Drug Crime

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution normally requires police to obtain a warrant before searching you or your property for potential contraband, such as illegal drugs. But there are several exceptions to this rule. For example, if a police officer observes drugs in “plain view,” the officer can seize that evidence without a warrant. […]

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What Is a Prosecutor’s Obligation to Disclose Evidence to the Defense in a Criminal Trial?

January 6th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Criminal Defense

There is a basic rule in criminal defense law that a defendant cannot advance a legal theory on appeal if they did not raise the same argument during the trial. The reason for this is simple: An appeals court is there to review possible legal errors made by the trial judge, not retry the entire […]

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Can a Judge Revoke My Bail If I Use Drugs?

December 5th, 2019 by Tad Nelson in Drug Crime

The U.S. Constitution prohibits courts from imposing “excessive bail” in criminal cases. Among other things, this means that courts should not imprison a person accused of a crime pending trial, unless the charges against them are severe (e.g., murder) or there is credible evidence that the defendant poses a danger to the community if allowed […]

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What “Court Costs” Can a Judge Assess If I Am Convicted of a Crime?

December 4th, 2019 by Tad Nelson in Criminal Defense

You may not realize this, but the penalties for a criminal conviction in Texas are often not limited to jail time or probation. In many cases, the judge can assess “court costs” against a guilty defendant. These costs are supposed to help the state recoup some of the costs of its successful prosecution. But in […]

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